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Old 08-08-2020, 02:26 PM   #4941
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Massive paper production requires either massive rice production (rice paper), massive textile waste production (rag paper), and/or TL4+ hemp fiber/wood pulp production (hemp fiber paper at TL4 and wood pulp production at TL5). The Romans Empire had none of the above and lacked the ability to gain any of the above due to its environment and the structure of its economy.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:01 PM   #4942
malloyd
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Massive paper production requires either massive rice production (rice paper), massive textile waste production (rag paper), and/or TL4+ hemp fiber/wood pulp production (hemp fiber paper at TL4 and wood pulp production at TL5). The Romans Empire had none of the above and lacked the ability to gain any of the above due to its environment and the structure of its economy.
You can make paper from most pretty much any cellulosic fiber. Making plant paper from leaves or grass is a common kids "ecology" project, and bark papers is still a pretty significant cottage industry in Japan. Pretty much any fiber crop will work - it doesn't actually have to go through a "rags" stage. Of course European fiber production biases toward wool (which won't work) rather than plants, but it's not actually harder to make paper from hemp or flax than it is to make thread - probably less really, mechanical crushing has to be easier than all that delicate spinning - it is not actually a TL4 process.

Wood pulp is a high tech process, because wood has lots of lignin in it, and separating the cellulose fibers from it is a substantial chemical engineering challenge, and I suspect papyrus is difficult for similar reasons of separating the fibers from other sticky stuff, but the limitation on massive paper production isn't the materials, it's the (lack of) incentive for the massive part. Textile fibers are still relatively expensive after all, which pretty much kills the non-writing uses of paper, especially since a lot of them overlap the uses of cloth anyway, and demand for writing materials just isn't that enormous.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:42 PM   #4943
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Hemp (and, to a lesser extent, flax and jute) is hard to make into affordable paper before TL4 because of the hurds or shives. With widespread TL4 watermills and windmills to provide the mechanical energy to accelerate the processing of hemp, it became affordable to divert hemp from clothing production to paper production (hemp grows densely and easily on low quality land, so it was always the labor costs that prevented more widespread use of hemp). Roman slave labor, while suitable for cloth fiber production, would have been unsuitable for widespread hemp paper production, as the cost of feeding the slaves alone would not have allowed hemp paper to be cheaper than papyrus.
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:09 PM   #4944
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

They made hempen cloth in ancient times, so hemp based paper makes sense. There are cultivers of hemp which are better for paper making, my hypothetical Cabalist might easily get seeds of the best cultivers of hemp brought to this parallel.

Remember, hemp isn't the only plant you can grow for paper that grows well in the Mediterranian basin. A world jumping Cabalist might seek out the optimun plant or plants and bring them to this parallel.
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:50 PM   #4945
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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and the structure of its economy.
I would like to know more...
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:29 PM   #4946
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It was a slave holding society, which limits economic incentives for improvement (slave holders are often the wealthiest members of society and have a vested interest in keeping the status quo) and limits demand for recreational literacy (while Rome had literate slaves, their literacy served the interests of their masters, not the entertainment of the slaves). Without extensive recreational literacy, there is insufficient demand for paper.
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:50 PM   #4947
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It was a slave holding society, which limits economic incentives for improvement (slave holders are often the wealthiest members of society and have a vested interest in keeping the status quo) and limits demand for recreational literacy (while Rome had literate slaves, their literacy served the interests of their masters, not the entertainment of the slaves). Without extensive recreational literacy, there is insufficient demand for paper.
There was demand for paper. Rome bought lots of papyrus and parchment. There was never enough. Paper, like pepper, would start in the luxury market and as paper got cheaper spread.
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Old 08-10-2020, 10:58 AM   #4948
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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It was a slave holding society, which limits economic incentives for improvement (slave holders are often the wealthiest members of society and have a vested interest in keeping the status quo) and limits demand for recreational literacy (while Rome had literate slaves, their literacy served the interests of their masters, not the entertainment of the slaves). Without extensive recreational literacy, there is insufficient demand for paper.
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There was demand for paper. Rome bought lots of papyrus and parchment. There was never enough. Paper, like pepper, would start in the luxury market and as paper got cheaper spread.
So the question is, would the relatively wealthy, relatively small group of recreational readers be sufficient to support innovation in written materials. I think if the novelty of it could be "sold" to the wealthy then they might provide the initial investment to get printing off the ground. I think it would depend on the salesmanship of the first group of producers.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:25 PM   #4949
dcarson
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

From what I understand the early printing presses printed church materials and government needs mainly. At least by day, there was also apparently porn printed at night off the books. Rome would have all three markets.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:25 PM   #4950
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Default Re: Tollerances

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The difference engine required tolerances that were difficult in the 1800's, especially in the quantity required. That would make it even more difficult to make in ancient times.
I suppose that, if you made it much BIGGER, then a fraction of an inch is a smaller percentage, so the machine might be doable--but temperature could cause it to jam as it gets too hot or too cold.
Alternatively, even a little bit of magic--perhaps a secret of the mathematicians' guild or the engineers' guild--could account for it.
World builders use care: Increased tolerances have MANY spin-off effects. The steam engine comes to mind...
Popping in late, this means that difference engines must be located deep underground where temperature and humidity are uniform all the time. Like in caves or under temples. And the programmers are a natural for secret societies full of hidden lore...
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